There’s no denying that break ups are the absolute worst. They can rip us open from the inside out, mess with every aspect of our daily routine, our self-esteem, our identity. And in many cases, you lose your closeness with your ex-partner, which can be very painful. So finding friendly common ground with an ex can feel alien, wrong, weird – but should it be, really? Footballer Gary Lineker and his ex-wife, actress and model Danielle Bux have been pictured by paparazzi on holiday together in Ibiza with family and friends, and attention has been drawn to how apparently shocking it is that the former couple are able to be amicable. But is it? Why are messy celebrity breakups viewed as inevitable?
A witness in Ibiza told The Sun: 'It was hard to think Gary and Danielle are not blissfully married. They looked so relaxed and intimate in each other’s company.
'They have re-written the rulebook on how a divorced couple can get on. They clearly still adore each other.'
Perhaps the big issue here is the rulebook itself, that seems to dictate that a break up or divorce, particularly if it’s high profile and involves wealthy and famous people, has to involve mud slinging and bad feeling. The ability to still ‘adore’ an ex seems like something to aspire towards, not be shocked by.
The couple divorced back in 2016, after all. That’s seven years' worth of experience and perspective. With Danielle being based in Los Angeles and Gary in London, they visit each other and seem to have a healthy friendship.
But Gary himself spoke to The Mirror back in 2019 about how his ability to be ‘best mates’ with Danielle was ‘unusual’. So it feels like that the expectation that celebrity breakups in particular ought to be explosive has even been internalised by the stars themselves.
After all, the ‘messy divorces’ trope has rung loud through Hollywood gossip for years. Think Brangelina, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. The list of examples go on and on, with everything from legal battles to Twitter rants and passive aggressive Instagram Stories being splashed all over our news feeds.
Sometimes things get messy when a relationship ends. Sometimes really messy. But there are couples in the spotlight, like Gary and Danielle, who have been able to forge some kind of friendship, whether it’s immediately after splitting or years later.
Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow are undoubtedly the gold standard for this, ‘conscious uncoupling’ and all. But Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are also a lovely example, speaking fondly of each other and their relationships in interviews. Courtney Cox calls her ex-husband and Scream co-star David Arquette her ‘best friend’.
It’s refreshing to see – respect, friendship and residual love between exes. So the question is this: why are we so surprised when celeb couples prove that they can be amicable? Is it because we crave the drama that they bring to our lives through TV, film, or whatever the medium, and expect it to bleed into their own relationships?
Or is it that we’ve all reached a point of such cynicism that we can’t envisage a world where exes can be respectful to each other, particularly in the dramatic, heightened world of Hollywood?
This stance seems to say a lot about how we view friendship and relationships, and the link between the two. The best kinds of relationships, surely, have friendship at their foundation – something that can, if you’re lucky, be pursued after a break up. Is it time to rip up the 'rulebook' that says otherwise?